Nominating Judge Merrick Garland and Calling the Senate's Bluff

Associate Professor Thomas Keck, the Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics at the Maxwell School, offers analysis of the new Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garlan.

Thomas Keck

Thomas Keck

"D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland is a distinguished jurist, eminently qualified to serve on the Court, and was a widely rumored short-listed candidate for the vacancy that President Obama filled with Elena Kagan in 2010.

By going with Garland, the president has selected the candidate who under normal circumstances would be most acceptable to Republican Senators. Indeed, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch suggested a Garland nomination shortly after Justice Antonin Scalia's death. In this sense, then, the president is calling the Republican Senate's bluff. If the Senate's leaders stick to their pledge not to consider (or even meet with) any Obama nominee, it will be clear that they are doing so solely for partisan reasons and not due to any concerns with the nominee's qualifications or record."

Professor Keck teaches the courses  Supreme Court in American politics and constitutional law and is the author of Judicial Politics in Polarized Times and The Most Activist Supreme Court in History. He is available to speak to media and can be reached at


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